NTU Career Tracks 2024

A Career in Insurance: Lek Chin How

Tell us about your role and main responsibilities.

As an Underwriting Automation Specialist at Prudential Singapore, I collaborate closely with internal and external stakeholders to drive, assess and review projects and enhancements relevant to underwriting automation. In addition, I also assess applicants’ medical and financial risks for life and health insurance policies, and work closely with stakeholders to evaluate the risk and exposures of potential customers. This is to determine the appropriate coverage and premium for customers and to assess risk factors such as age, health condition and, lifestyle. This ensures that customers get the coverage that they need, while protecting the financial stability of the company.

What made you pursue a career in this sector?

As a first-jobber, I wanted to pursue a career that offers both personal and professional growth. The ASPIRE: Prudential Corporate Graduate Programme caught my attention as its structured learning, mentoring, and exposure to various aspects of the insurance industry would be a great opportunity for me to build a strong foundation. I joined the ASPIRE programme in 2020 and embarked on an enriching journey that allowed me to rotate to four different roles. Through these rotations, I gained deeper insights into the insurance industry and developed a comprehensive understanding of the business. Moreover, these rotations helped me discover my interest and passion. This aided me in making an informed decision in choosing my final placement in Underwriting Automation to align with my strength and aspirations.

What do you enjoy most about this role?

I enjoy the opportunity to leverage technology to enhance efficiency and elevate the customer experience. One of the enhancements that I contributed to is the automation of the underwriting system which allows underwriters like myself to issue policies within a few hours. Each project exposes me to a unique challenge and allows me to expand my skillsets and knowledge base. Additionally, the collaborative aspect of the role is very fulfilling. Building relationships with internal and external stakeholders and working together with them to deliver innovative solutions brings me a deep sense of accomplishment. The opportunity to connect with others and exchange ideas enables me to foster strong teamwork skills and effective communication with others. The collaboration, exposure to different projects and learning make this role extremely enjoyable.

What were some work challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?

In the beginning, many things were new to me, and I did not fully understand the impact of my work on the business or the policyholder. To address this, I proactively sought clarification from my colleagues and managers to gain a comprehensive understanding of how my work will impact others. Being courageous to seek clarification enables me to bridge the knowledge gap and make better informed decisions. Many initiatives and solutions also started from asking questions. Feedback and questions from my colleagues helped me to identify and address issues that I encountered. Mentorship also played a crucial role in helping me overcome challenges. My mentor’s open sharing of their insights and valuable advice help propel me further in my personal and professional growth.

What is needed to be successful in this role?

As an underwriter, the ability to assess risks is an important skill. This allows me to evaluate potential risks and recommend appropriate solutions and decisions. Effective risk assessment involves identifying potential risks, analysing the likelihood and severity of each risk, and quantifying the impact of each identified risk. Having a strong risk assessment skill enables me to accurately evaluate risks and provide risk mitigation solutions to neutralise them. For example, when encountering a technical issue, my approach is to ringfence the problem, whereby I will then follow up with a comprehensive analysis of the associated risks and impacts. The analysis serves as the foundation for making a well-informed decision on how to proceed and address the issue effectively.

Share your advice with students who are keen to pursue a career in your field.

Embracing technology is a critical aspect of a successful career in the future of work. Technology enables automation, streamlines manual processes, and improves operational efficiency. I highly encourage you to learn more about technology trends and how such technology is used in the insurance industry. Internships present a fantastic opportunity to engage with various automation tools and to understand their practical applications in real-world scenarios. Learning should not stop after graduation. As technology is constantly evolving, and new tools and software are introduced regularly, it is crucial to embrace a mindset of continuous learning to stay current and relevant with technological advancements. I would also strongly encourage you to attend training programmes, webinars, and workshops regularly as part of upskilling to enhance your skills and knowledge.